How to Implement Automation Tools for Robots

Automation for robotics has the potential of spurring greater efficiency, lower costs, deliver better results and increase flexibility for both large scale manufacturing and small and mid-sized enterprises (SMEs) if implemented correctly. However, before pursuing it, you should have a sound and strategic vision of robot automation for your business. Therefore, you need to understand how it will be introduced and to which applications.

In addition, you need to clearly understand the operational strategies and unique budget as well as outline the potential benefits of automation tools for robots. Once you have answered those baseline questions, your next step towards automation should not be selecting the robots but instead identifying the right end-effectors that can be fitted to the robotic machines to automate collaborative applications, this is a vital.

Finding the right tools for the right job

If your business is new to automation, it is understandable how you my assume that robots are the most vital component. They are not, the most important component is the end-of-arm tooling also known as EOAT. This is because EOAT will handle the material and the products. Most importantly, EOAT plays a very important role which includes collecting the data that informs communication with objects, humans and robots as well as robot behavior.

When choosing tool changers, robot grippers and sensors, there are a few factors to consider. At present, EOAT makers are offering a range of robot accessories which are curated for various production needs. This is all thanks to advancements in EOAT technology which are now designed to handle a variety of applications. Such tools are equipped with more complex and greater operational features and typically require minimal installation and reinstallation times.

According to the International Federation of Robotics, collaborative robots popularly known as cobots will account for almost 35% of global robotic sales by 2025. Additionally, more collaborative robots will translate to a greater demand for flexible and versatile EOAT that can assist in making cobots more autonomous and smarter. In turn, this will help deliver a greater return on investment.

Getting smart tools for your smart business

Automated processes can help your business overcome existing challenges, ultimately giving you advantage over your competitors whether it is through creating a dynamic and more efficient production environment or reducing long-term costs. This is true for SMEs as it is for larger businesses, automation is therefore no longer just for high volume manufacturing.

For this reason, SMEs with small-batch production tasks and historical production data can and should take advantage of the modern advances in EOAT and robotics, particularly those that have lower costs. This will give your business a more feasible option especially if you are on a tighter budget.

There are a plethora of potential benefits that your SME business can get from automation. They may include the ability to more easily decrease and increase production based on demand as well as lowering per-unit costs due greater precision. With enhanced production capabilities, your SME business has the chance to stand apart from your competitors too thus making your business more marketable to new customers with more demanding production needs.

Maintaining your automation activity

After, figuring the right tools for the job and getting the smart tools for your business, the last step in implementing automation for robotics for your business is to maintain your automation activity. While this is often an overlooked area, automation is not always a one-time activity.  Keep in mind that there will be changes in the systems and processes and therefore you should have a good change management process to handle such changes.

You need to estimate the impact of change in processes or systems and then have a plan ready for it. Therefore, you need to prepare a change management plan. That said, it is crucial that you first consider your automation goals to make sure that you select the right tools for the job and thus implementing automation to the fullest.

Image credit: Automation Tools via Photon photo/Shutterstock

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